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Pre Pro US IPAs

Promotional material for the short-lived version of Ballantine India Pale Ale from Pabst Brewing Co. released in 2014 laims:

"Ballantine is America's original IPA, introduced in Newark, NJ in 1878."

The two mentions below, perhaps not coincidentally, are the earliest citations of Ballantine brewing an ale labeled "India Pale Ale", although, based on the wording of both, it seems unlikely that they appeared the very year that Pabst now claims was the same year the ale was first brewed.

The claim that it was the "original" India Pale Ale in the US is easier to dispute, as the below clips from the period of 1860s-1890s illustrate.

David Jones operated a brewery at 180-194 E. Sixth St. in New York City,  brewing a "Pale India Ale" in the years before the Civil War.  By 1879, Jones' (described as a "millionaire brewer" in contemporary articles) ale brewery had moved to E. 44th Street - possibly because of an 1875 fire which left the "extensive brewery in ruins" [New York Times, November 24].  Jones operated 3 malt houses on Manhattan, as well as a lager brewery in nearby Westchester County in New Rochelle (some sources call it the "Park Brewery"). 

Upon his death in 1881, he also owned breweries in Brooklyn, and in New Jersey, in Newark and Jersey City and was considered the "most extensive dealer in malt" in the country.  The company would be dissolved in 1894.

circa 1860

Henry Bowler, as noted formerly a brewer for A. A. Dunlop,  briefly operated breweries in Troy, NY in the decade of 1860-1870, listed as both "Henry Bowler" (Second St.) and as "Bowler, Herbert & Co." (the former Dunlop facility at Spring & Broadway).

George Amsdell opened his brewery in the noted ale brewing region of Albany, NY in the 1850s, his brother Theodore joining the firm by the end of the decade, creating the Amsdell Brothers Brewing Co., which would survive under various "Amsdell" names until the decade before Prohibition, the last few years of which is would be known as the Citizens Brewing Corp. It would not reopen after Repeal.

Robert Smith's Ale Brewery would be purchased by C. Schmidt's & Sons in 1890s.  Schmidt would continue to use the brand name for some of its ales in the post-Repeal era.

McCormick's brewery, known as Fenway Breweries, in the final years of 1915-1918 would not reopen after Prohbition.

(BELOW) Although listed as brand names for India Pale Ales in the 1860s-1870s, there is no record of a Chicago brewery named "Osborn" or a NYC "Dick & Wagner" brewery.  It's possible that they were bottlers, selling IPAs brewed by other companies.

While this example is dated the same year as the Ballantine ads above, Albany's famous Quinn & Nolan Ale Brewing Co. was running this same ad as early as the fall of 1877.

(ABOVE) Rueter & Alley's Highland Spring Brewery closed for Prohibition. The brewery would re-open after Repeal under the ownership of brewer Croft, producing a number of ales.  The brand would eventually be purchased by Narragansett in the 1950s.

(BELOW) Two brewers in the upstate NY town of Ogdensburg on the St. Lawrence River, Morgan, Arnold & Co. - later known as Arnold & Co. - and Crichton, both were brewing an  India Pale Ale as early as the decade of the 1860s.  Crichton's brewery would burn down in 1879 but Arnold would remain in business until Prohibition, brewing its India Pale Ale as the flagship beer.

75 miles south, on the junction of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, George Scobell established a small brewery in the 1870s (under 1,000 bbl/yr), for a time partnered with Kinghorn, in Cape Vincent.

Ad from a local Worcester Mass business Directory, dated 1871, for an East India Pale Ale from New York City's Tracy & Russell Continental Brewing Co.